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Remembering Kibaki’s Presidency with a journalistic eye


Kenya’s third President Emilio Stanley Mwai Kibaki died last week aged 90.

While confirming his death in a televised national address at State House Nairobi on Friday 22nd April 2022, President Uhuru Kenyatta did declare a period of mourning that included the flying of flags at half-mast until the day Kibaki is buried.

“It is my sorrowful duty to announce to the nation the passing of his Excellency Emilio Mwai Kibaki, the Third President of the Republic of Kenya,”Uhuru said while addressing the Nation.

“The flag of the Republic of Kenya shall be flown at half-mast at state house and all Kenyan diplomatic missions public buildings and public grounds, all military bases posts and stations, on all naval vessels of the republic of Kenya and elsewhere throughout the entire territory of the republic of Kenya from today until sunset on the day of his interment,” he added.

In his address, the President eulogized Kibaki as a distinguished leader who worked so hard to ensure the country was at a better place.

“The late Former President’s administration conceptualized and spearheaded transformation in critical sectors such as education through the globally lauded free  primary education programme, Infrastructure developments in Transport and Energy, and increasing the availability and access to healthcare for his fellow Kenyans,” the President said.

The Deputy President William Ruto mourned Kibaki as a visionary statesman, successful politician and inspired pan African

“On behalf of the Kenya kwanza team we pay tribute to the third president an outstanding economist, a man who has distinguished himself with great legacy that he has left behind, an accomplished Kenyan, a man who we all respect as our third president,” Ruto intimated .

Meanwhile former Prime Minister under the Kibaki Presidency Raila Odinga eulogized Kibaki as a freedom fighter in the pre and post-independence Kenya

“As President, Mwai Kibaki was in his best element whenever an issue came up in cabinet that brought to the fore the intersection between politics, public policy and service delivery, on such occasions whether in cabinet or committee discussions, President Kibaki would allow full debate taking in all shades of opinion on the matter,” Raila said

“…..even as President, Mwai Kibaki never stopped being finance minister, his eyes were always on the national treasury and his mind permanently on revenue and expenditure,” he added.

Mwai Kibaki’s major achievement revolves around the major multi billion shillings Thika superhighway, championed the launch of Kenya vision 2030, as well as kept the public debt in check during his reign. Under his leadership too Kenya gained the new constitution after being approved through a referendum in 2010.

But despite the above achievements Kibaki’s lowest point of his Presidency which we must never forget was the 2007-2008 post-election violence after a disputed vote  that led to the loss of 1200 lives and more than half a million people displaced. The electoral commission under the chairmanship of the late Samuel Kivuitu declared President Kibaki as the winner of the 2007 vote, results that opposition leader Raila Odinga heavily disputed.

When Kibaki came to power he promised to root out corruption which was bedeviling the country but as he was busy promising Wananchi on how he was going to handle this, corruption scandals also befell his Presidency the promises he made didn’t come to fruition in that a number of corruption cases among them the Anglo leasing scandal, Goldenberg scandal and even the maize scandal cases rocked his leadership leading to a number of his Ministers resigning over corruption allegations.

Also under his Presidency the media came under massive attack from the state not forgetting the March 2006 Standard media Group raid that shook the nation.

On March 2 2006, masked men did storm the Standard group premises in Nairobi at I&M building and switched off CCTV cameras and also destroyed broadcasting equipment leading to total blackout of the station.

The then Internal security minister the late John Michuki later said the media house was raided because it was to publish and air defamatory stories that were damaging to the government, allegations the media house denied.

“Na mambo ambayo ilikuwa huko ni mambo ya state security …if you want to rattle a snake you must be prepared to be bitten by it,” Michuki said while addressing journalists over the standard group raid attack. But the Minister’s comments were later condemned by the media fraternity.

“We believe that this is a direct and blatant attempt to undermine the freedom of the press in this country that is guaranteed by the constitution, it is also an action intended to paralyze our business. We believe that the extra judicial settling of scores has no place in any country which believes in the rule of law,” Tom Mshindi, Chief Executive officer of the Standard group then said while condemning the raid.

Kibaki will be buried on April 30th at his Othaya home Nyeri County.